The government on Friday extended till December 15 the date for making FASTag mandatory for toll payments on national highways.
It said it will now charge double user fee from vehicles entering FASTag lane without FASTag from December 15, instead of December 1.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had earlier announced that toll payments on highways would be accepted through FASTags only from December 1.
FASTag is a prepaid tag, affixed on vehicle’s windscreen, that enables automatic deduction of toll charges and lets the vehicle pass through the toll plaza without stopping for the cash transaction.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in a statement said, “… to provide some more time to citizens to buy and put FASTag on their vehicles, it has now been decided that charging of double user fee from vehicles which enter FASTag lane without FASTag will start from December 15, 2019 instead of December 1, 2019.”
NHAI said it was decided that all lanes (except one lane on each side) in fee plazas shall be declared as ‘FASTag lane of Fee Plaza’ by December 1, 2019.
“Accordingly, NHAI has equipped all fee plazas with Electronic Toll Collection System. For ease in availability of FASTag, NHAI has launched MyFASTag app whereby all information regarding FASTag can be obtained along with the location of POSs and charging/linking with NHAI/other wallets or bank accounts. However it has been found that many citizens have still not enabled their vehicles with FASTag due to various reasons,” the statement said.
In order to save fuel, time and pollution and to ensure seamless movement of traffic, MoRTH has launched National Electronic Toll Collection program (NETC) which provides for the collection of user fee through FASTag based on RFID technology, it added.
FASTag will continue to be provided free of cost till December 15, an official of NHAI said.
NETC programme, the flagship initiative of MoRTH, has been implemented on a pan-India basis in order to remove bottlenecks and ensure seamless movement of traffic and collection of user fee as per the notified rates, using passive radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.
The Ministry had earlier said that 537 toll plazas have become 100 per cent electronic toll collection compliant, including 17 where FASTags will be read through hand-held devices.
Over 70 lakh FASTags had been issued till Wednesday, with the highest per-day issuance of 1,35,583 tags on November 26, 2019, whereas 1.03 lakh tags were issued on the day before.
The average daily issuance had grown by 330 per cent from 8,000 in July to 35,000 tags sold in November after the government announced to implement it from December 1.
After the announcement of waiver of tag cost from November 21, there has been a growth in FASTag issuance.
To give a fillip to digital payments and bring in enhanced transparency, the ministry had directed to declare all lanes of fee plazas on national highways as ‘FASTag lanes’ by December 1.
However, one lane in each direction was decided to be kept as ‘hybrid lane’ which will accept FASTag and other modes of payment.
“With the above mandate, average daily transactions processed through FASTag have grown from 8.8 lakh in July this year to 11.2 lakh transactions in November 2019, while the average daily collection has grown from Rs 11.2 crore to Rs 19.5 crore for the given period,” the ministry said earlier this week.
All the available mode of recharges such as debit card, credit card, net banking and Unified Payments Interface have been enabled for loading money to the FASTag account.
Customers may call on helpline number ‘1033’ for any assistance related to FASTags, the ministry said, adding that they can also reach out to banks to obtain FASTags.